MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

November, 2013

John Moraga Out of UFC on FOX 9, Replaced by Turkish Dude Named “Alp”


(Watch this video right now. We’ll explain later. Props: Gavin Halbert via MiddleEasy)

The injury curse that’s been plaguing UFC on FOX 9 (December 14th, Sacramento) has already claimed Anthony Pettis, Ian McCall, Kelvin Gastelum, and Jamie Varner, turning a once-loaded free show into a half-decent one that we’ll still watch because OMFG BROWN vs. CONDIT YOU GUYS. Today, we regretfully add one more body to the casualty list: Former flyweight title contender John Moraga, who has pulled out of his prelim match against Darren Uyenoyama due to an undisclosed injury that will sideline him for four weeks.

Stepping up on short notice to face Uyenoyama will be Alptekin “Alp” Ozkilic, an 8-1 native of Turkey who now trains out of St. Charles MMA in St. Peters, Missouri. Luckily, Ozkilic is more qualified to compete in the Octagon than some other people we could mention. His only career defeat came in a decision loss to current UFC flyweight Chico Camus in April 2012, and since then Alp has won three straight fights, including a 30-second TKO of former WEC mainstay Antonio Banuelos.

But it’s Ozkilic’s TKO of Josh “Shortstack” Robinson from February of this year that will surely become a viral-video sensation. Captured in the video above, we see Ozkilic on top, bashing Robinson with elbows. Then, in one of the dumbest displays of bravery absolute fucking stupidity we’ve ever seen, Robinson shouts “COME ON HIT ME YOU MOTHERFUCKER,” and Ozkilic happily obliges, laying into Robinson’s head with even harder elbows. There’s some controversy about what happens next. Robinson’s arms appear to go limp and the referee jumps in to stop the fight, but apparently Robinson wasn’t defending himself on purpose, and he immediately protests the stoppage. As Josh writes in the comments section on the YouTube video:

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On Royston Wee’s Signing and the Death of “UFC-Caliber” Fighters


(This is one of approximately 4 photos that exist of the most talented fighter in all of Singapore. According to the UFC, at least. Via Yahoo.)

Who is Royston Wee, you ask? Oh, he’s just the first Singaporean fighter to ever sign a deal with the UFC is all. No big whoop. He’s also undefeated, and has picked up every single one of his victories by way of first round submission.

The problem is, Royston holds just two professional fights to his credit, and they both took place back in 2011. Yet somehow, he, along with the slightly more experienced Filipino Dave Galera (5-0) and One FC veteran (and therefore, most experienced) Leandro Issa (11-3)*, recently secured a multi-fight deal with the UFC. In fact, Royston already has his first fight lined up — against Galera at Fight Night 34:Ellenberger vs. Saffiedine, which goes down in, you guessed it, Singapore, on January 4th.

Is Royston some Brock Lesnar-level star over in “The Lion City,” you ask? Not exactly. He’s just a 27 year-old bantamweight who was competing for a spot on TUF China last July like everyone else. The difference between Royston and his fellow potential castmates, however, is that Royston was able to convince whomever he was auditioning for — in a few short hours, no less — that he was not only TUF-caliber, but that he was UFC-caliber.

Is Royston simply that good? Here’s the only video of him in action that we could find. We think it’s from his last fight against Syed Shahir, who was making his pro debut at the time and has not fought since. Royston seems like a competent enough grappler, sure, but the caliber of his opponent speaks volumes more than that of his performance.

I keep using that word: caliber. It might be because that, for a time, there was a dubious distinction that came with having the letters “UFC” placed before it. It meant that you were proven. It meant that you were exceptional. But lo, it appears that the age when “UFC-caliber” actually meant something has passed us by.

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Does The Newest TUF 18 Promo Unintentionally Give Away the Winner of Rakoczy vs. Pennington?

Call me crazy, you guys, but I think the answer to the question I just posed in the title is a resounding “yes.”

Having briefly worked for a post-production company behind several of today’s more popular reality shows, I can tell you that the average episode of reality TV is often as hastily thrown together as the concept behind the show itself. The same goes double for 30-second promo spots. But while viewing the most recent promo for this weekend’s TUF 18 Finale, I happened to notice something a little…curious.

Skip ahead to the 21 second mark of the above video. You will see a montage that shows Raquel Pennington, Jessica Rakoczy and Julianna Pena individually squaring off. But if you pause the video just right at the 22 second mark, you can see the profile of the Pena’s opponent during the in-ring staredown that is typically saved for the finalists. Join us after the jump to see what I mean…

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With GSP’s Future in Question, Jon Jones Has Inherited the UFC Throne


(Highlights from Jon Jones’s Q&A at the Gentlemen’s Expo in Toronto. Subscribe to CagePotato’s YouTube channel right here.)

By Brian J. D’Souza

“Will he?” “Won’t he?” The talk since UFC 167 has been centered around the potential retirement of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. GSP’s face showed superficial damage following his split-decision win against Johny Hendricks, but more seriously, he absorbed the kind of blows that rattle the brain around the skull with life-altering consequences.

Even if St-Pierre returns to the octagon, the twin realities of declining motivation and the onset of age could see his legacy tarnished the same way Roy Jones Jr. forever damaged his reputation by continuing to box after appearing diminished in beating Antonio Tarver by majority decision in 2003.

Major pay-per-view draws like GSP and Anderson Silva simply cannot fight forever. When they try to continue past their prime, as BJ Penn insists on doing, it can hurt their drawing power. The UFC relies on stars who can captivate audience interest and raise the stakes, and right now the safe money for a dominant champ to rejuvenate the UFC’s fortunes is on light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.

Jones was recently in Toronto last weekend to speak at The Gentleman’s Expo, where he was interviewed by Sportsnet’s Joe Ferraro. Jones made headlines by continuing to insist he wanted to face UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, saying “I think that’s going to happen in the next two years, I’ll go up to heavyweight permanently…I’ve been really thinking about me and Cain Velasquez going at it, and I think it’d be huge for the sport.”

In terms of public relations, Jones has been walking a tightrope, dealing with hyper-critical fans and the venomous Zuffa brass over various incidents ranging from speaking gaffes to the cancellation of UFC 151 to incurring a DUI while wrapping his Bentley around a telephone pole. The bottom line for Zuffa is simple — Jones is an asset for consistently bringing in solid pay-per-view numbers, but he needs to play the game and allow Zuffa to dictate the strategy.

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Rousimar Palhares Is World Series of Fighting’s Problem Now


(Palhares would later describe this moment as “the first time I’ve ever been on an airplane.” / Props: @ToquinhoMMA)

When it comes to picking up the UFC’s leftovers, World Series of Fighting and Bellator have displayed two very different approaches. While Bellator tends to sign the most washed-up UFC castoffs in order to make their home-grown fighters look impressive when they beat the UFC guys (or to create negative buzz around a surely-doomed PPV), World Series of Fighting tries to pick up the best UFC castoffs available, in the hopes that fighters like Anthony Johnson, Miguel Torres, Jon Fitch, and Yushin Okami are famous enough to draw fans on their own. Bellator would rather avoid having champions who weren’t good enough to keep their jobs with Zuffa. For World Series of Fighting, having a UFC veteran win a belt is the kind of promotional hook they’ve been working towards all along.

I mention all of that to help explain why World Series of Fighting has just signed Rousimar Palhares to a multi-fight contract. Yes, he’s been bounced out of the UFC for causing undue injury to his opponents, and any organization that signs him isn’t doing the sport any favors. On the other hand, Palhares is incredibly talented, a ferocious fight-finisher, a consistent generator of controversy and awesome GIFs — the kind of athlete that any B-level MMA league (besides Bellator) would kill to get their hands on.

Palhares is expected to make his WSOF debut in March, against an opponent to be named later. Jon Fitch has already pre-emptively turned down the fight, but matching Toquinho up against another American wrestler is a possibility. As MMAJunkie reports:

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UFC on FOX 9 Interview: Matt Brown Discusses His Tough Road to the Top, And How MMA Saved His Life


(“I’ve been at the bottom. When I lost three in a row I thought I was cut for sure. I have no fear of that. I can look at it and say there’s worse things in life that could happen.” / Photo via Getty)

By Shawn Smith

A real-life Rocky if there ever was one, Matt Brown is not your typical MMA fighter. He didn’t wrestle in college and he doesn’t have the polished good looks that will land him on posters. He turned to mixed martial arts as a way out of a lifestyle that was killing him, and it has been anything but a smooth ride to the top of the UFC welterweight division. Three straight losses in 2010 had many, including him, questioning whether or not he was a UFC-caliber fighter.

Now with six straight wins in the UFC, Brown will get the most challenging opponent of his career. On December 14th at UFC on FOX 9, he’ll take on former title contender Carlos Condit in what is sure to be an explosive bout. We recently spoke to Matt to get his thoughts on the fight that could launch him into title contention, how MMA saved his life, his experience on TUF, what he thought about Georges St. Pierre‘s controversial win over Johny Hendricks, and so much more. Enjoy.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: What was it about mixed martial arts that drew you to the sport?

MATT BROWN: The first time I saw it was Tank Abbott way back in one of the first UFC events. That got me kind of interested. The first one that really got me was Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie in Pride. I thought “man, this is freaking amazing.” It was something I wanted to be a part of in some way.

The draw is mainly the intensity and the authenticity of the sport. The UFC says it best: It’s as real as it gets. That’s a rare thing in life and in sport.

I find it funny you say Sakuraba and Gracie because they were so grappling-based and you’re more of a knockout guy.

At that time with the knowledge I had of MMA, Royce was unstoppable. He was the epitome of a UFC fighter. He was this mysterious guy who came in and did all these things that no one had seen before. It was amazing. The fact that [his fight against Sakuraba] lasted an hour and a half, it was like watching a movie. I don’t know what it was about that fight, but even to this day it’s a pretty amazing fight to me.

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Hot Potato: 13 Photos of ONE FC’s Hottest New Ring Girl, Maya T

Singapore-based promotion One FC might not have the most stacked rosters or big-name fighters to boast (except for Alain Ngalani, of course) but they are in a league of their own when it comes to spotting ring girl talent, and I’m not just saying that because of my well-documented Asian fetish. We’ve already devoted Hot Potato galleries to One FC ring girls Felixia Yeap and Park Si Hyun, and now, the promotion has recently announced the addition of fitness model Maya T to their roster. Therefore, we must now document Maya’s history of hotness in vivid detail, as is tradition.

According to her interview with FHM, Maya likes men who work out regularly, hates men with smelly feet (Ed note: opposing ideologies much?), and sleeps in a t-shirt and underwear. Excuse me while I pick these pieces of my brain off the floor. Check out the best photos of Maya the internet has to offer after the jump, and for more pictures/updates on One FC’s newest standout, head over to her Twitter page.

-J. Jones

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So Some Pretty Incredible Shit Went Down at Glory 12 This Past Weekend [VIDEO]


(The Ristie vs. Petrosyan KO, set to some appropriately foreboding music.)

Heading into Saturday night’s Glory 12 lightweight tournament, two-time K-1 champion Giorgio Petrosyan was being heralded as “The Floyd Mayweather of Kickboxing.” The comparison was not without merit; Petrosyan was a dynamic, seemingly untouchable striker who was carrying a six year unbeaten streak into his semifinal contest with +650 underdog, Andy Ristie. As a casual kickboxing fan at best, even I was quick to chastise my roommates for having the gall to pick Ristie to win. “I’m here to tell you, that’s not going to happen,” I said, echoing Frank Trigg’s epic assessment of the Fedor vs. Zuluzinho fight, “Giorgio will dispatch this man very quickly.”

Less than ten minutes later, I was dining on a heaping plate of crow.

Giorgio Petrosyan, the Floyd Mayweather of kickboxing, had been knocked out cold in the third round. Even to casual fans of the sport like myself, this was a big deal. In 81 fights, this was the first time the Italian-Armenian had been stopped. The result was just one of many shocking upsets to punctuate the Glory 12: New York card, which also saw former rugby star Ben Edwards score a last-second KO over a gassed Jamal Ben Saddik and Mirko Cro Cop training partner Igor Jurkovic suffer a first round TKO at the hands of relative unknown Jhonata Diniz.

While Ristie was no slouch, to put it bluntly, the savage knockout was the last thing fans were expecting and provided Ristie with a clear edge in the momentum department heading into the finals against #2 ranked Robin Van Roosmalen. A gif of that fight’s finish is after the jump, along with complete GLORY 12 results.

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UFC Booking Alert: Cerrone vs. Martins, Amagov vs. High Added to January Cards


(Hey, right back atcha buddy. / Photo via @Cowboycerrone)

Though he was considering a drop to featherweight following his recent submission win over Evan Dunham at UFC 167, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will remain at lightweight for his next Octagon appearance, which will take place at UFC on FOX 10: Henderson vs. Thomson (January 25th, Chicago), just two months after his last fight. It was confirmed over the weekend that Cerrone will face Adriano Martins, a Brazilian veteran and former BJJ world champion who won his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 32 with a Submission of the Night-earning armbar of Daron Cruickshank.

Prior to the Cruickshank win, Martins scored a decision win against Jorge Gurgel at Strikeforce’s final show in January. Those are fairly impressive victories for a fresh UFC prospect, but a meeting with Cerrone is a major step up in competition. We wouldn’t go as far as to call it a squash match, but it’s certainly an unexpected booking for Cowboy, who has consistently faced well-known opponents throughout his UFC career. Still, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear him complain about it. The man loves to fight, and he has to pay for bull-feed somehow.

In other booking news…

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Jon Jones Teases Superfight With Cain Velasquez, Retirement at Age 30


(Photo via Getty)

In the 20-year history of the UFC, no fighter has ever held two title belts simultaneously, or kicked off a championship reign in a second weight class immediately after leaving his original division. If any fighter could accomplish such a feat at this point, it’s Jon Jones, who has already enjoyed a tremendous run at 205 pounds, and has the height and reach to make a move to heavyweight seem credible.

Jones has been considering a hypothetical move to heavyweight since early 2012, but the switch is looking more and more likely as 2014 approaches. While speaking at Gentlemen’s Expo in Toronto over the weekend, Jones voiced his desire for a super-fight against heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez within the next year, followed by a permanent departure from the light-heavyweight division. Here’s what he had to say, via MMAWeekly:

“I think that’s going to happen within the next two years. I’ll go up to heavyweight, permanently,” Jones said. “I’ve been really thinking about me and Cain Velasquez going at it. Don’t be surprised if you see that sooner or later.”

Jones added that he thinks a fight between him and Velasquez will be huge for the sport, and he anticipates taking a “super fight” within the next year.

Velasquez typically tips the scale at roughly 240 pounds, routinely fighting opponents that outweigh him by up to as many as 25 pounds. Jones said he walks around at about 230 pounds, but would pack on some extra muscle to fight Velasquez at a similar weight.

“I would gain about 10 pounds of muscle and compete with him at about 240 [pounds],” Jones said…

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